Intra-portal transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells ameliorates liver fibrosis in mice.

Hepatobiliary & pancreatic diseases international : HBPD INT

PubMedID: 18522880

Zheng JF, Liang LJ. Intra-portal transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells ameliorates liver fibrosis in mice. HBPD INT. 2008;7(3):264-70.
Bone marrow cells can differentiate into hepatocytes in a suitable microenvironment. This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of transplanted bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) on liver fibrosis in mice.

BMSCs were harvested and cultured from male BALB/c mice, then transplanted into female syngenic BALB/c mice via the portal vein. After partial hepatectomy, diethylnitrosamine (DEN) was administered to induce liver fibrosis. Controls received BMSCs and non-supplemented drinking water, the model group received DEN with their water, and the experimental group received BMSCs and DEN. Mice were killed after 3 months, and ALT, AST, hyaluronic acid (HA), and laminin (LN) in serum and hydroxyproline (Hyp) in the liver were assessed. Alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) in the liver was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Bone marrow-derived hepatocytes were identified by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in liver sections.

BMSCs were shown to differentiate into hepatocyte-like phenotypes after hepatocyte growth factor treatment in vitro. Serum ALT, AST, HA, and LN were markedly reduced by transplanted BMSCs. Liver Hyp content and alpha-SMA staining in mice receiving BMSCs were lower than in the model group, consistent with altered liver pathology. FISH analysis revealed the presence of donor-derived hepatocytes in the injured liver after cross-gender mouse BMSC transplantation. After three months, about 10% of cells in the injured liver were bone marrow-derived.

BMSCs transplanted via the portal vein can convert into hepatocytes to repair liver injury induced by DEN, restore liver function, and reduce liver fibrosis.